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Old 01-11-2011, 07:36 PM
 
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A pretty simple one too: if I rotate the tires, do I need to get the wheels re-aligned?

A couple of mechanics I spoke too said I should get a 4 wheel alignment annually, although one of the mechanics admits that few people ever do.

What's the straight jiffy?
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Old 01-11-2011, 08:20 PM
 
Location: The Ranch
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Quote:
A couple of mechanics I spoke too said I should get a 4 wheel alignment annually, although one of the mechanics admits that few people ever do.

It depends on the driving conditions. most people wait for signs like the steering wheel being off center, uneven wear, pulling to one side, etc.

Usually when I get my tires rotated, my mechanic checks the alignment. He gives me a printout each time I get a rotation. But truthfully I haven't needed one since I converted all of the family vehicles to either 4WD or AWD.
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Old 01-11-2011, 09:30 PM
 
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The tire wear patterns on the front will tell you if you need an alignment.
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Old 01-12-2011, 01:09 AM
 
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I would like to prevent issues such as cupping and other problems which create excessive noise and possibly other issues from occurring in the first place.
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Old 01-12-2011, 05:20 AM
 
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Originally Posted by evesadam View Post
I would like to prevent issues such as cupping and other problems which create excessive noise and possibly other issues from occurring in the first place.
Then get the alignment checked.
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Old 01-12-2011, 06:01 AM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
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Sure, they'd also like you to change the oil at 3,000 miles, and maybe get a tuneup every 10,000 instead of 90,000, it's money in their pockets. I would get an alignment when buying new tires, after that only if hitting a curb hard, or if noticing unusual tire wear or drivability issues.
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Old 01-12-2011, 08:31 AM
 
Location: WA
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You do not need an alignment unless it has been thrown out of alignment... many vehicles go their full life without one. I have one that is 13 years old with over 100k miles that has never needed one. I have another that needed more than one in 40K miles until I insisted the techs use a torque wrench to get everything properly tightened... it has been great for years since.

Alignment is normally only needed when there is damage, severe wear, or heavy impact to the suspension.
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Old 01-12-2011, 04:37 PM
 
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Where I drive, there are so many potholes it's highly unlikely to go more than a couple of days without hitting one or several. The roads are in really bad condition.

I'll just go for the one alignment though: it's really overdue and necessary.
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Old 01-12-2011, 05:20 PM
 
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No, cupping is associated with bad shocks, odd wear is associated with toe in on the outter edges of the ft tires. There is no such thing as toe out, and if there is you will scrub off rubber like tomorrow is the last day on earth.

Other wear is dependant of tire psi. In other words if the center is wearing down faster you have too much air in the tires, or if both edges are wearing down faster than the cneter you don't have enough air in the tires.

If there is pulling to one side with no hands on the wheels it's either a brake problem or one tire is trying to toe out.

There is camber adjustment (Angel of lean into or away from dead straight up), caster adjustment (angle of lean from the top down front to back) see a shopping cart, and toe, all cars are toed neutral to toed IN. Just 3 things as adjustments that must be set. Nothing can be set if a part is bad. If there is a bad ball joint, king pin (you probably don't have king pins) a bad tie rod end(s), ect there can be no adjustment to do untill the bad part is replaced.

If the rear end is out the car will show it looks to be crabbing on the street, best viewed from behind that car in another car moving. A bent frame will do the same thing.
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Old 01-12-2011, 07:31 PM
 
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I've had the underbody and all suspension parts thoroughly inspected. By thorough, I mean a multi-person crew literally checking every single part with a flashlight, and tapping various parts by hand for evidence of movement or looseness.

Then, every single moving part of the suspension was lubed.

Then, I had three separate drive tests by three separate mechanics.

The first two were unsure if the noise was suspension related. The third did not think the noise coming from the rear of the car was suspension related.

I strongly suspect that since the car has never had an alignment done, nor the tires rotated, that improper maintenance is the culprit.
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